Four Bean Chili

Is it cold enough at your place for chili?

This was going to be my last post of the year but my Asparagus and Shiitake mushroom dish nosed it out and besides it is just now cold enough to make chili here. Christmas day was 80° in our part of Texas but now it’s down in the 40’s (what a difference a couple of week make.).

Thanks Katherine Heigl for your Chili recipe. I love Katherine Heigl. She seems like the most down to earth movie star (do people still say movie star?**) and I have watched every movie she’s been in since she left Grey’s Anatomy. I’ve seen her cooking on several shows recently and this particular day she was on the Today Show making her chili.

Now chili is something I have never been good at making. My family use to say that my chili never tasted the same from one time to the next. In fact, if I want chili now I use Wick Fowler’s Two Alarm Chili mix. My mother always used the little package of Chili-O and I thought her chili was wonderful.

When we lived in Louisville, KY and you were served chili you were asked if you wanted beans or no beans and that’s the first time I had macaroni in my chili — chili-mac and then learned to put out toppings like cooked spaghetti, chopped onions, cheese and chopped fresh tomatoes. Recently I had some chili at a local bar in The Woodlands, no beans; what do you mean NO beans! To me chili without beans just taste like meat and chili sauce. Ya gotta have beans in chili if you ask me.

I think Katherine’s chili would be great cooked in our outdoor kitchen maybe in my cast iron bean pot of my mother’s. The only bean I’m changing in her recipe is the garbanzo bean and I am leaving it out because of my aversion to those little beans. I changed her 3 large onions to 1 1/2 cups of onions because large onions these days are about 3 cups each. Don’t know what happen to a normal small, medium, large sizes of onions but everything these days are super-sized. I substituted canned beans for her dried beans and changed the garbanzo beans to pinto beans. I tweaked her spices a little and added tomato sauce because the chili was really thick and if you still think it is too thick, add some water or beef broth to thin.

MEMORY FROM THE PAST — Movie star photos?? — when my sister and I were young we use to actually write to movie stars for a picture and we always got back black and white glossy photos; we had quite a collection and I have no idea what happened to those.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Another great soup for a cold winter day is my Pumpkin Tomato Soup that I first posted back in 2009 when I started this blog.


I changed Catherine’s garbanzo beans to pinto beans. I also added 2-3 small cans tomato sauce.


The spices get toasted in a skillet.


Brown the bacon in skillet until crisp then remove to paper towel to drain and then crumble.


Saute the onions for a few minutes before adding the garlic then saute until translucent.


Add the ground beef and sausage and cook until done. Drain off the fat.


Add all the beans, drained and rinsed to the pot with meat and spices and tomatoes.


This is where I decided it needed more chili powder and a few cans of tomato sauce because it was so thick.


Four Bean Chili
Katherine's recipe minus the garbanzo beans.
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  1. 1/2 lb. dried black beans, soaked in water overnight
  2. 1/2 lb. dried white navy beans, soaked in water overnight
  3. 1/2 lb. dried red beans, soaked in water overnight
  4. 12 oz. bacon, diced
  5. 1/2 c. garlic, minced
  6. 1 1/2 c. yellow onions, minced
  7. 6 jalapeños, minced
  8. 3 Tbsp. cumin, ground
  9. 1 Tbsp. cumin seeds
  10. 3 Tbsp. paprika, ground
  11. 3 Tbsp. chili powder
  12. 1/4 c. oregano, dried
  13. 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  14. 4 cans (28 oz. ea.) tomatoes, whole in puree (I used petite diced)
  15. 2 bottles (12 oz. each) dark beer (like Negro Modelo)
  16. 2 lbs. ground beef, lean
  17. 2 lbs. spicy pork sausage
  1. Rinse and drain soaked beans. In a large stock pot, place the beans and cover with fresh water. Over medium high heat, bring the beans to a boil, skimming any foam from the top. Simmer until fork-tender (about 1-1 ½ hours).
  2. Meanwhile, in a large stock pot or Dutch oven, fry bacon until fat has rendered and bacon is crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon to drain on paper towels.
  3. Sauté the garlic, onions, and scallions in the residual bacon fat, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent (about 10 minutes). Add jalapenos and cook for 5 minutes more.
  4. While the jalapeños cook: in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast all seasonings, swirling and agitating the pan so as to not burn the spices (about 2-3 minutes). When the seasonings are fragrant, add to the cooking onion-jalapeño mixture.
  5. Add the tomatoes and beer to the onion-jalapeño mixture. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer (about 30 minutes).
  6. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the beef and sausage. Break up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon or silicone spatula and cook until brown throughout. After draining the fat, add the meat to the vegetable mixture.
  7. By now, the beans should be cooked and the vegetable-meat mixture should be simmering. Drain the beans and add to the chili. Stir in the reserved bacon, and season to taste. Over low heat, simmer the chili for up to 1 more hour.
  8. Note: If the chili is too thick, add more beer or water to thin it. Do this by adding 1-2 tablespoons of your liquid of choice at a time
  1. First off, I HALVED the recipe. Even half a recipe looks like it would feed 15 people.
  2. Like many of you, I didn't want to take the time to cook dried beans so I used rinsed, canned beans. I substituted pinto beans for the garbonza beans. I also thought it was a very thick chili so I added two small cans of tomato sauce.
  3. My additions to this recipe are the toppings you can add to your own bowl and personalize this chili to your liking.
  4. Toppings: grated cheddar cheese, chopped fresh onions, cooked elbow macaroni, chopped jalapeños, chopped fresh tomatoes and sour cream.
Adapted from Katherine Heigl
Adapted from Katherine Heigl
Rosemary and the Goat

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